Posted by Brett Rose on April 14, 2000
I thought I would add my bit of Australian Folklaw to the archives.(As I understand it)
The famous Australian poem/song Waltzing Matilda, originated from Germany, where the young men of a village would travel the countrside going from town to town working as whatever was going at the time - this was called "Waltzing" (sp).Then during the war a "Matilda" was a nickname given to the woman of the night that kept the soldiers warm, this was also the name of the thick army coats the soldiers would wear.
From this the Australian Swagman, (A drifter or tramp , who wanders around on foot , living on gratuity and odd jobs), would carry his "Swag" which contained all his worldly posessions/tools etc ...this was also his bed for the night.
I look forward to hearing any one elses version of this.